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Series Preview: Pirates Look To Keep Cubbies out of First

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Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a chance to shake things up in the National League Central Pennant Race and disrupt the Cubs attempts to move closer to the division-leading Cardinals during a three game series at Wrigley.

The Cubs controlled the division along with the Brewers for most of the season, however the Cardinals have been surging lately and are keeping the Cubs at an arms length away with a four game lead. The Brewers are also right there with them lockstep.

The Pirates are currently 5-8 against the Cubs this season and the two will meet one more time this year the for both team’s second to last series of 2019.

The Pirates are 5-5 through their last ten games and are on a two-game winning streak. The Cubs sit at .500 through their last ten as well, winning the last game of their previous series.

The Pirates are still lingering behind the Reds in last place, though just three games back.

Chicago is 31-29 against the rest of the Central while Pittsburgh is 25-39. The Cubs are 23 games over .500 at home while the Pirates are 33-41 away from PNC.

SERIES STARTERS


(All games broadcast on ATT SportsNet—PIT)
Friday, 4:05 EST- Steven Brault (4-4, 4.13 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (12-10, 4.51 ERA)

Saturday, 2:20 EST- James Marvel (0-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (10-9, 3.33 ERA)

Sunday, 2:20 EST- Trevor Williams (7-6, 5.21 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (13-8, 4.15 ERA)

CUBS NOTES:

-Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant have been leading the Cubs offense the last 10 games, with a 196, 179, 172 wRC+ marks, respectively. The three have combined for seven home runs, 14 RBIs, and 15 runs scored in that time frame.

-Kyle Schwarber has been heating up lately, with a .324 ISO through his last 38 plate appearances.

-Anthony Rizzo is faltering through his last nine games, with just a .231 wOBA and a .124 batting average (.133 BABIP)

-In Lester’s last four starts, he’s had two stellar outings sandwiched between two really bad ones. His last start in Milwaukee saw him allow eight earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched off seven hits and three walks. His prior start at home against Seattle was much better as he threw six innings of six-hit ball with no earned runs allowed and nine strikeouts. He’s faced Pittsburgh three times this season and has won two of the games with his first being a no decision.

-Hendricks has been the Cubs ace this year, with just one bad start through his last five outings; six runs to the Mets at Citi Field in 4.2 innings pitched. The other aforementioned starts saw him allow no more than one earned run capped by a seven inning shutout of the Giants at home on August 22nd. Hendricks has faced the Pirates twice this year (both at PNC) and has pitched 10 innings, allowing three earned runs with a 7-1 K/BB rate.

-Quintana closes the series out in Wrigley for his fifth start against the Bucs in 2019. He’s earned the win in each of the four previous starts allowing just six earned runs on 21 hits and four walks with 28 strikeouts. Quintana hasn’t pitched well lately, allowing at least four earned runs in three of his last four starts in 17.2 innings with 7 walks and 12 strikeouts.

First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 EST.